Mental illness can really do a number on a person when it’s left alone. No medication, wrong medication, self-medication, plus years without therapy all played a role in my son’s demise.
Before he was afflicted, people would describe David as resourceful, charming, adventurous, caring, conscientious, and loving. Everyone loved to be around him! He also loved the outdoors, was active at school and church, and dreamt really big dreams.
But his best qualities became his worst attributes once mental illness hit…
His resourcefulness helped him sometimes, but it mostly got him into trouble.
His charm turned into manipulation, even with people he just met in jail.
His adventurous spirit became recklessness, often at the expense of others.
And he eventually began to care about the wrong things, because he believed the lies his mind was telling him. Since he did have a conscience, the war in and for his mind grew more vigorous, with severe anxiety tipping the scales. He won some of those battles, but he lost the war alone on a cold January night.
Though mental illness stole his life, it won’t get the last word. I won’t let it!
I’ll fight it and expose it wherever and whenever I can. For David’s sake. For the sake of everyone at war with it. For everyone who’ll bury their child if I don’t speak up.
Unfortunately, my story is all too common. Millions of others have the same challenge. The question is, How many voices, how many hearts will join me?
Will you advocate for the mentally ill even when others don’t?
Will you help others learn lessons from your pain, so they don’t have to feel it themselves?
Will you carry mercy, grace, and empathy to the unlikeable, to the angry, to the hopeless?
I know you can! And if you do, mental illness doesn’t stand a chance.